Author Archives: Californian Mum in London

About Californian Mum in London

Hey! I'm a California gal who moved to London in 2002 to be with my British bloke. Come read about my adventures living in London, being a Stay-At-Home-Mum, coping with a tea and cake addiction and trying to assimilate into British life. Don't know where I belong, but can't imagine living anywhere else.

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On Sunday, I got the best gift any mother could wish for on Mother's Day - a day of no tantrums. It was delightful. It was actually more than delightful. It was a miracle. To make the day even better, we went out for a delicious lunch at Bao Bao London. I feel like we're constantly going out for pizza or burgers, so I was excited to be trying out Taiwanese cuisine.

Taiwan is known for their street food, and Bao Bao delivers fresh, tasty food in a cool environment (imagine a gorgeous floral wall made for Instagram). Husband and I were initially excited to try Bubble Tea. We watch My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend on Netflix and they are always drinking bubble tea. There are loads of flavours - so it was a bit overwhelming. Luckily the waitress was understanding and quite helpful. I was pleased with my choice - the passion fruit tea, with aloe vera bubbles, green tea, some ice and a little sweetness. Husband ordered a green tea as he couldn't handle all the choices. Haha.

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I have a love-hate relationship with hair salons. I love having someone else wash (and massage) my hair. I love a good cut and blow-dry. But I hate the worry of a bad or unflattering hair cut. I hate it when my fringe is not cut perfectly straight. So when I was invited to try out the brand-new Rush Hair & Beauty in Wimbledon Village, I felt a bit nervous. But I was also excited as I had been wanting a new hairdo for a few months.

First impressions were good. Wimbledon Village is quite a nice area, so I would never expect to see a shabby shop or a bargain hair salon there. Rush Wimbledon Village looks quite luxurious. And besides the normal tea and coffee, I was excited to see that they also offer Prosecco (shame I was driving). My hair stylist, Zoe, turned out to understand my hair (fine, but wavy and there's A LOT of it). I showed her a couple of photos of hairstyles that I liked, and we talked about ways to make my hair look nice whether I straighten it or wear it naturally wavy.

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We were members of the National Trust a couple of years ago. Long-time readers may remember that Dubz was an utter terror when he was two and we had to take a little break from family outings. But oh, how things can change in two years (those of you with toddlers, take note, it does get easier). So last week we re-joined the National Trust, and visited Claremont Landscape Garden.

Located in Esher, Surrey, Claremont Landscape Garden is a lovely place for a day out. The grounds are very pretty, and include a man-made lake and an amphitheatre made out of turf. Wildlife includes ducks, geese, a black swan, parakeets, rabbits and squirrels. There is a small man-made island in the middle of the lake, as well as some caves that were made when formal gardens went out of favour in the mid-1700s. I thought the caves were beautiful and made Claremont much more interesting than the average National Trust garden.

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What makes a good family film? How about likeable characters, a good plot, a baddy and some hijinx? Well, Surf's Up 2: Wave Mania has all those things plus some cool surf moves. On Sunday, my family and I went to the DVD launch party for Surf's Up 2 and we had loads of fun. The film is about an ambitious and clever penguin, Cody, who is desperate to achieve fame and fortune through surfing. Along with his friends, Lani and Chicken Joe, they battle it out to see who can join the famous Hang Five surf team (voiced by some of the superstars from WWE).

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I have put away my winter coats. Call me reckless, but I am ready for spring. We have already had some lovely days in the past couple of weeks (though we have also had a couple of cold, windy days). But I have decided to dress for the weather I want, so my wardrobe has had a bit of a spring overhaul. I've been adding colours to my usual monochromatic colour scheme and I have a new camouflage jacket that is jazzing up my outfits.

Camouflage and khaki are really big this spring. I was a bit nervous that I was too 'mature' for camo, But you get to a point in your life when you have to say 'f*ck it'. No 40-something wants to be accused of dressing too young, but I think fashion is more fluid these days. Teenagers and women in their 60s can be found shopping side by side in places like H&M. So I'm trying not to think of my age, and to just wear clothes that make me happy.

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Husband rarely goes away for work, but once a year he attends a conference with his firm. This year he used our car, which isn't a big deal as the weather was nice and I happily walked everywhere with the kids (he was only gone for 1 1/2 days). But the girl was a bit of a nightmare on Saturday. And when Husband arrived home at 3.30pm, I was happy to see him. But I knew I also needed some time alone. So I grabbed the car at 3.35pm and went for a mental health walk in Richmond Park.

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Ever since I was a teenager, I have had a fondness with peace sign jewellery. It started with a beloved pair of earrings, then it was a chunky ring. In my mid-20s, I began to dress more conservatively. When you're young, and working in an office, you're desperate for people to respect you. But I've been out of the traditional 9 to 5 for over five years now. And I've stopped listening to fashion rules and I just wear whatever makes me happy. Cue my new peace sign bracelet from Chlobo.

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I love a UK city break. And though I enjoy exploring new places with the children, I adore having a little getaway with Husband. In January, exhausted from Christmas and winter colds, the two of us were in desperate need of some time alone. So we called in some reinforcements (aka The Grandparents), and off to Bath we drove.

As we only had one night away, Bath is a great destination as it is only 2-2 1/2 hours away from London (by car). And as it isn't a big town, it is quite manageable to walk around in a day. We didn't see everything that Bath had to offer, but we did take in some of the best-known sites. So I thought I would share some of the fun we had during our four hours in Bath.

The Roman Baths

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Who doesn't love brunch?! But brunch and the most thoughtful Mother's Day gifts? And did I mention the hot tea and coffee brought to the table? That's every mum's dream. The lovely folks from I Just Love It wanted to show some of us mothers how appreciated we are. And feel appreciated we did.

The table was set beautifully, and I knew immediately where to sit as there was a plate with the initials 'EW'. You know I love things with my name or initial on. I think everyone does, but especially when you have an unusual name. As you can imagine, I never had anything with 'Elfa' when I was growing up. There was a personalised vintage dessert spoon that read 'There's No Better Mum Than Elfa'. I'm leaving it casually around the house,hoping the sentiment seeps into my family sub-conscious. Other cute tableware included a vintage butter knife, an egg cup and mum hi ball glass, both of which had my name on them.

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Dressing Down In My Dressing Gown

If you follow me on Facebook, you will know that I recently bought a dressing gown. Emma from BrummyMummyof2 is often sporting one in her Instagram and Facebook posts, and I was feeling a bit jealous. Dressing gowns look so comfy, especially in winter. And I've needed something to make me feel more snuggled up at home. After some research on The Google, I decided upon the third one above. But I thought I would share some of the other robes that I liked.

1. Striped Wrap - this beauty from Marks & Spencer was a close second. It looks so elegant. Plus it's long so will keep your little calves warm. And those stripes appeal to many of us ladies of a certain age. What is it with stripes that sends so many of us in our 30s and 40s all a flutter?!

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